If you read my review of the 2019 Ford Mustang EcoBoost this morning, you may be wondering just where we took the little filly. Our road trip started in Seattle and ended in San Francisco and we took CA-1 along the California coast. Before we reached the ocean, however, we had one very important inland stop our readers will be very familiar with: Eugene, Oregon.
Having seen so much of Eugene – at least in the background of thousands of car photos over the years – it felt very familiar. After delicious shish kabobs and some of the best potatoes I’ve ever had, plus a delightful fruit pie and wine, Paul, Stephanie, Little Man and I went for an after-dinner walk around town. We walked through the picturesque Owen Rose Garden down to the rushing Willamette River, and then trekked up Skinner Butte.
Paul’s shared many of his findings from Skinner Butte over the years so it was a delight to finally see it in person. And on that Sunday night, it was agog with chill teens enjoying the view (and some pot) and socializing. Stephanie and I both admired a ’92-97 Cadillac Seville SLS but the real sight was Eugene at twilight, train horns blowing in the distance and the red lights of radio towers gently pulsating across town in Solar Heights.
Naturally, the streets of Eugene were positively bedevilled with classics but I respectfully kept my snaps to a minimum – I didn’t want to encroach on Paul’s turf! Besides, many of the cars we saw have already been featured on this site, including this yard of Honda Civic (aka Shuttle) wagons. Would you believe I saw more of these in one day in Eugene than I’ve seen in my life?
Actually, there is one exciting find I’ll share with you another day from this very lot. It’s almost the polar opposite of a Civic Wagon.
Our walk took us past some charming bars and restaurants in Whiteaker and the Market District and it was in this part of town that we saw this Chevrolet Celebrity. After the disastrous act of self-immolation that was the launch of the front-wheel-drive GM X-Cars, GM wisely recognized that the Chevrolet Citation’s sales trajectory was quickly resembling the Hindenburg and launched the related A-Body.
Using the same platform but with more substantial styling, the A-Body was positioned as GM’s intermediate offering, although it overlapped with the RWD G-Body (nee A-Body coupes) until 1987; G-Body wagons and sedans also continued to be sold until as late as 1987. Thanks to longer overhangs and a new wagon variant, plus Chevy and Pontiac’s substitution of hatchbacks for notchbacks, this act of platform sharing proved so successful that many didn’t even realize the A-Body was even related to the maligned X-Cars. And GM was able to charge around $2k more for a Celebrity than for a Citation.
Coming at the end of our twilight promenade, this Chevy – an ’84-85 based on the fussier grille – was a lovely find. And though I was only in Eugene for one night, it was a splendid visit thanks to the Niedermeyers and their spacious and comfortable Airbnb, scrumptious food and outstanding hospitality. It was my second time meeting Paul and my first time meeting Stephanie, who is an absolute treasure. Eugene is a charming town and it’s worth a visit, and not just for the Celebrities and Civic Wagons and diesel Rabbits that roam its streets.